Test and previews Wed 10 October 2018

Husqvarna FE 250 Test

s soon as I got back from my summer vacation, I got a message from my friend Luca asking me to participate in the Husqvarna trophy race in Castiglion Fiorentino to test the new 2019 models; I obviously answered that I would go.
In Castiglion Fiorentino, hometown of the “Tuscan Wild Boar” Fabrizio Meoni, I go directly to Husqvarna’s paddocks where Nicolas Minne welcomes me with a brand-new FE 250, the bike I will race with. After some information on mapping and traction control I’m directed to the area dedicated to me inside the tent. It’s like a dream come true!

The first impression is of a lean, clean-cut motorcycle, with simple but captivating graphics. It is so lean and light that it feels like a bicycle when I sit on it to adjust the handlebars and I decide to take it for a ride to get the feel of it. It is very agile and reactive when changing direction, but I have the impression the engine lacks power (maybe it’s because I tried it only on paved roads and not off-road). I get back to the paddocks in time to adjust the suspensions and to pose for the static photo shoot. It’s time to put the bike in the “closed park” until tomorrow, when I’m going to seriously test it.

It’s Sunday morning and I can’t wait to hop on the bike and see how it runs, since I never rode a 4-stroke but only 2-stroke in my “motorcyclist life”, - except the 125 that I owned when my love for bikes started – so I’m even more curious to try it. We start off on pavement soon switching to the typical Apennines’ pathways where I can really put the motorcycle characteristics to the test. It is easy to ride, especially in standard mapping mode, output is very smooth and linear and is never difficult even if you give gas. I get to the first time trial tack, an endurance test that is very fast at first and then becomes more “technical”. I decide to try the racing setup to appreciate the difference with the standard one; it’s my turn to race, at last. I’m very surprised by the pickup of this little 250 4-stroke, especially when insisting with the same gear, which seems endless since it keeps pushing, and even if you engage the wrong gear exiting a curve or before a climb, you only need to lightly clutch and the bike goes back to pushing as a bullet. On the fast section it behaves well and I confirm what I said before for the twisties: it’s very agile and fast when changing direction and never loses traction. Transferring to the cross trial track I easily take on some hard off-road. A gulp of water and I’m ready to push it again. Here too I appreciate its maneuverability, but above all I appreciate its engine which takes you to the center of the curve where you can flog it to the next bend without swerving, saving time, which is very important when racing. Traction is excellent and the suspensions work very well, even if they are a bit too soft for me when you push it to make time. I finish the cross trial with a smile on my face since I had fun with this motorcycle. At the paddocks, the Husqvarna team fills the tank up and changes the air filter and I’m ready for the other two laps of the race. I’m familiarizing with the bike and want to see if I can improve my time in the trials. So it is and I’m satisfied. At the end of the race I give the bike back to Nicolas who immediately asks: «What do you think? », «I haven’t enjoyed myself so much in ages, the bike is very easy, if I wanted a 4-stroke I would certainly consider it, so for me the test is absolutely positive» I answer.

It’s a motorcycle for all, for the amateur who uses it once a week to have fun as well as the racer who only needs to adjust mapping and suspensions to customize them.
I thank Discovery Endual for this opportunity and Husqvarna for allowing me to test the motorcycle. A special thank you goes to Nicolas who helped me for the whole weekend putting anything I needed at my disposal.  

Text and tester: Michele Zoppi
Photos: Marcello Mannoni

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